Coordination and organisation
This COST action will be coordinated by a management structure with defined goals, timelines and specialist WGs. A Management Committee (MC) will coordinate the Action and inform partners, prepare progress reports and manage the budget.
MC meetings will take place every 6 months usually linked with scientific meetings of a WG or with a workshop. Restricted MC meetings (Chairs, Vice-chairs, WG coordinators) will be organized every 2 months by tele- or video- conferences in order to ensure efficient coordination of the activities, review critical delivery timelines, maintain clear focus on the objectives and milestones.
MC tasks will be:
- Appointment of Action Chair, Vice-chair and Action Evaluation committee, COST manager;
- establishment and maintenance of a COST web site for internal communication (action conferences, workshop, initiative, dissemination of working opportunities (PhD, postdoc, positions), scientific production, interactions with other Scientific societies, WG/COST reports;
- planning MC meetings, scientific meetings, workshop;
- assessment of progress reports by the different WGs, ensuring they meet their respective objectives in the framework and direction of the COST Action;
- reviewing and approving STSM And Training Workshop applications;
- invitation of new participants to the COST Action if novel opportunities emerge;
- promotion of cooperation and exchange of data between WGs (for example for clinical implication, availability of clinical resources etc);
- organization of the annual Meeting and summer school (secretariat, chair, scientific committee);
- preparation of annual and final reports;
- creating and strengthening the links to other EU programmes and industries;
- deliver the COST Action outputs to ensure no competition/repetition within the Cost participants and with other European programmes.
This dedicated ADMIRE COST website has been set-up to promote the collaborative network, manage MC and WG Administration and Meetings, organise and advertise Training Schools, advertise STSM applications, deliver and archive digital content from Workshop lectures, Symposia and joint publications, and promote collaborative research among WGs. Collaborative research promoted by the WGs will be funded by the participating partner laboratories through their national or other funding resources. Delivery of such trans-national research collaborations will be a major milestone of this COST Action measured by joint publications and joint grant applications. A major achievement here will be the establishment of trans-national associated research teams working towards a common goal in one of the WG thematic areas. Another major milestone will be the training of ESRs through STSMs and hands-on training and a major achievement in this regard will be the cotutelle and joint supervision of PhDs and post-docs between partner labs in different Member States. The ADMIRE COST Conference will replace the ESAC conference on an annual basis providing a further forum for knowledge-sharing and advertisement of STSMs and Training Schools to a much wider audience.
WGs will promote the rapid dissemination of the results between the experts within and outside of the WG, leading to synergistic research rather than ineffective competition. Moreover, development/identification of new tools (probes, antibodies, cell lines) will be rapidly disseminated as a result of the close interaction between WGs. This will be facilitated by regular WG meetings. WG will have an elected lead and co-lead and will actively promote female members and ESRs in these roles.
Liaison and interaction with other research programmes
Interaction with other COST Actions and European as well as international programmes will be stimulated throughout the duration of the Action. Most Network members already coordinate/participate in networks of Excellence both at the National, European and International levels. The Management Committee plans to participate in the annual meeting of relevant networks or, via the common participants, identify possible domains of interactions.
For example, two participants are Coordinators of
a COST Action (AFM4NanoMed&Bio 2012),
National Biophotonics & Imaging Platform Ireland (http://nbipireland.ie),
EU FP7 Marie Curie COFUND CEMP (http://www.nbipireland.ie/education/cemp)
EU FP7 Marie Curie ITN (INNOVIM Endocrine Cancers).
Some participants are members of the Management Committees in a COST action (CF COST Action (BM1003), of the UE FP7-REGP IMBRAIN project.
Other EU relevant networks in which ADMIRE COST participants are members include COMETE which houses a unique cohorts of patients with type I pseudo-hypoaldosterponism 1 (PHA1.NET collection) and in European Platforms such as ENS@T, EURENOMICS and ESFRI EuroBioImaging.
Gender balance and involvement of early-stage researchers
This COST Action will respect an appropriate gender balance in all its activities and the Management Committee will place this as a standard item on the MC agenda. An extensive contribution of women scientists will be encouraged. Of note during the preparation stage of the proposal, the input from female researchers (not only Experts listed in the Part II but also members of their team) was high. The female researcher participation will be high and above the EU average for these kind of Actions. Given the experience in the ESAC, the Action is expected to promote the participation of over 60% female scientists to the total ERs and ESRs in the ADMIRE COST Action (see figure). This high ratio of female scientists is also reflected in the proposed future leaders of WGs.
The Action will be committed to considerably involve female early-stage researchers. During WG meetings and workshops, the WG leaders will favour the invitation of ESRs to present their work. Of note, this policy was already the case during the meetings of the French-German ESAC annual meetings where ESRs were strongly encouraged to participate (travel and accommodations were fully covered by ESAC) and to present their research. Moreover, we will encourage their active participation in the WGs. ESRs will be given priority for STSM to improve their scientific careers.
How capacity building will be realized
The EU Expert Group on the Research Profession published a report 1 in July 2012 (A reinforced European Research Area Partnership for Excellence and Growth. COM(2012) 392 final. Brussels, 17.7.2012), focusing on the areas that impact on mobility and an open and competitive single labour market for early stage researchers. Amongst the recommendations is ‘Realising the 5th Freedom – Essential Role of Mobility’ where the Expert Group advocates that at least four types of mobility be recognised: geographical, inter-sectoral, ‘virtual’ (based on tangible cross-border research collaboration) and mobility related to change of topics or disciplines. Another recommendation refers to Conditions for Career Development: Transparency & Open Recruitment. The Expert Group recommends a more nuanced approach to merit-review, capable of capturing research potential (in the case of early career researchers and those researchers with less linear career paths).
The ADMIRE COST Action will help deliver mobility and training for ESRs through STSMs and Symposia. The application for STSMs will be advertised through a dedicated ADMIRE website and through scientific societies and the extensive research partners’ networks. Selection of ESRs to attend Training Schools will be transparent and purely on merit review by the MC taking into account geographical and gender spread of the applications. The STSM digital content will be archived on the website so as to be accessible to a wider ESR population. ADMIRE will offer PhD students and recently qualified postdoctoral workers (ESRs) the opportunity to organise scientific symposia. The COST Action will provide sponsorship, but the scientific content, format and social events will be decided entirely by the early-career researchers organising committee. Specifically, the COST Action will involve early stage researchers in the organization of Training Workshops and Symposia by inviting ESRs from the host institution to design and deliver hands-on training sessions and a one-day ESR Symposium held within the Training School Workshops and wholly organized by the attending ESRs.
In the Innovation Union document (Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative Innovation Union. COM(2010) 546 final. Brussels, 6.10.2010), the EU Commission says that ‘in a rapidly changing global economy, we must build on our strengths and decisively tackle our weaknesses: too much fragmentation and costly duplication. We must spend our resources more efficiently and achieve critical mass.
The ADMIRE COST Action addresses these weaknesses of fragmentation and dispersal of resources directly by building on the strengths of the existing European Section of Aldosterone Council (ESAC) (see Part IIb for more details) to share know-how rapidly and electronically, providing regular appropriate hands-on training of ESRs by experts, shared open access to expensive and scarce resources such as transgenic animal models and avoiding duplication of effort through cross-disciplinary collaborations catalysed by inter-connected Working Groups.